CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Major retailers, targeted by groups of criminals, working together to cash in on merchandise they didn’t pay for.

Organized retail crime is on the rise nationwide, and now, stores are fighting back.

Queen City News’ Chief Business Correspondent Taylor Young has been following the uptick in retail theft across the area.

Target is already closing stores across the U.S. due to theft. Several major retailers, including Target, have said they’re fed up with spiraling crime.

Now the company is partnering with Homeland Security in hopes of putting an end to it.

“HSI and our partners are committed to combating this crime every day, we are out there looking at this stuff,” a representative said.

Homeland Security, the leading agency tackling organized retail crime, now has a new partner.

After sounding the alarm on rising retail crime in its stores, Target is fighting back.

Following a tough decision to close a handful of stores in areas like New York City and San Francisco, the retailer is implanting new policies at locations across the country.

More security guards, locked cases, and a partnership with federal investigators.

“Organized retail crime is part of a network that is involved in transitional organized crime that reaches outside of the United States,” a representative explained.

In Charlotte, Deputy Special Agent in Charlotte Kyle Burns said what’s stolen from stores locally more often than not ends up for sale online.

Proceeds can then be linked to other crimes, like drug trafficking.

“And that’s what I want people to realize is that they may be unknowingly [aiding] retail crime…so if you see something that retails for $500 and they are selling it for $200 in the box, that was probably obtained illegitimately or even possibly through violence.”

Following an uptick in violent thefts, retailers like Target said they will be investing resources in training employees on how to protect themselves and de-escalate situations.

“It really does have a negative impact globally. If the U.S. dollar is weaker. If these stores are closing down, it really doesn’t just affect, you know, York County, South Carolina, or Gaston County, or Charlotte-Mecklenburg. It can have ranging effects throughout the country and throughout the world. So, that’s what makes it a federal issue.”

In Charlotte, we have already started seeing more items getting locked up. Queen City News spoke to the company that supplies these locks to major retailers.

They’ve seen a 30% increase in sales.